Saturday, February 27, 2010

My New Love: Curling

Before the Olympics started I had zero interest in Curling. I thought it was an incredibly lame sport and was more of a Canadian stereotype than anything. I mean I knew who Kevin Martin was, because I had met him at a bar one night, but had little interest in watching any of the matches on TV when there were so many other cooler events going on.

I can now safely say that my feelings towards Curling have pulled a complete 180. And it all started yesterday around 2:45 in the afternoon.

I had just gotten back from the gym and was making myself something to eat when I heard my roommate Wych's phone go off (his ringtone of Wolf Like Me by TV on the Radio is a Top 5 ringtone in my books). On the phone was a former roommate of ours named Brent who was reminding Wych of their Curling match that night at 7.

Brent and Wych are both part of a Curling team in a Rec League back in their hometown of Tillsonburg. Besides reminding Wych of the game Brent also told him that two of their teammates would be unable to play. I had been watching a lot of Curling due to the Olympics and offered to play for their team.

The following exchange occurs,

Wych - "You wanna play."

Me - "Yeah man."

Wych - "Have you ever curled before?"

Me - "Once in Grade 10 for gym class."

Wych telling Brent I have offered my services for the evening.

Wych - "Yeah fuck it you're in. Brent will pick us up at 5."

The game was at 7 and it was now 3 o'clock which meant I had 4 hours to learn the basics of Curling. I knew how the scoring went and everything but had no concept of strategy or what the various shot types were called. All I knew was that I was going to be the Lead (this is often the worst player on the team and one person who can do the least damage).

We ended up getting to the rink early so I could practice before our game actually started. I threw a few rocks and practiced sliding out of the hack. Needless to say I could have used a lot more time. Our opponents walked out on the ice (a couple older guys and an older lady) and after a quick coin toss the game had begun.

We lost the coin toss so we shot first. This meant that the game would be started by me throwing the 1st stone. I don't think I need to tell you that this didn't go well. My 1st stone didn't make it a 1/3 of the way down the ice before it stopped cold and my 2nd stone flew right through the house. A brutal start to my Curling career.

It only got worse. After I threw my first 2 stones I was told I would would be sweeping the rest of the game. I was pumped on this because it meant I couldn't really hurt my team anymore than I already had, or so I thought.

Wych shot second for our team. I prepared myself to sweep the shit out of his shots and redeem myself for my pathetic throws. His first stone came roaring out of the 'hack' and was headed right for the opposing teams guard. Then my broom interfered. I was looking up while brushing to see where I was going to make sure I didn't trip on a stone and make an ass of myself and when I looked back down it was too late. My broom was hit Wych's stone flush on its side and had pushed it pretty much out of bounds rendering it useless.

This action elicited a laugh from the other guy on our team, Rick which was followed by this line, "I have never seen that happen before...ever." Having reached rock bottom as a curler I was beginning to regret my decision to play. Luckily the team we played against was awful and made some terrible shots and we stole 2 in the 1st end.

The 2nd end went much better as I threw a guard and then pulled off a perfect take out. I had no incidents while sweeping and ended up steeling another point to give us a 3-0 lead after 2 ends. It was at this time I was told that the winners buy the losers beer after the game.

Sidenote: This has to be one of the greatest rules ever and is one of the reasons I love Curling.

The rest of the game was pretty uneventful from my perspective. I made a nice "freeze" at one point and then did nothing but throw up guards or have my stones come up short or be too heavy. I also saw this guy playing in another fall hard on his back while trying to sweep which sent his broom flying. We ended up winning 8-1 which meant I was now 1-0 in my Curling career but also that I had to buy this old guy a beer for his effort.

So the game ends and we all go to the bar to buy drinks for these old people who just got their asses handed to them and on the big screen TV they have set up is the Womens Curling final with Canada playing Sweden. I can say with confidence that never before have I been more interested in the outcome of a female sporting event. I mean I loathe female sports but I actually cared who won and even though the Canadian skip Cheryl Bernard is crazy good looking I found myself talking more about the game than her.

Bernard ended up losing that game due to a couple of blown shots in the 10th and 11th ends. At one point in the 10th end she needed a double take out to secure the victory. Everyone watching was getting all excited and pumped for what was sure to be the game winning and gold medal clinching shot. Then she missed. It was such a deflating moment for me and I had just started taking an interest in Curling. For these people around me the Leafs might as well have just in Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Finals.

I had learned fist hand how passionate Curling fans are.

So that was my first taste of actual Curling. It was a lot harder than I thought it would be and also way more physically demanding as sweeping is no joke. I have a new found respect for the game and no longer consider it a lame game.

Random YouTube Video


Anonymous said...

With 5 seconds left, Cheryl Bernard panics.

Draper004 said...

Welcome to the darkside.